Friday, August 28, 2009

Goats On The Payroll

Just a quick post today to because I know people are going to have questions about this. Ok, if you see a few goats in Muskoseepi park over the next while don't be surprised; they are on the city payroll.

Parks staff are running a test project to see how effective the goats are at controlling certain kinds of noxious weeks in the park. If it works this will give staff a way to control the weeds without having to resort to harsh chemicals. It's a part of what we call integrated pest management.

Check out the city media release below:

"News Release
August 27, 2009

Goats to Eat Noxious Weeds in Muskoseepi Park

The City of Grande Prairie is testing a green approach to controlling the spread of noxious weeds in the Bear Creek Corridor, starting today.

Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control was contracted to work in that area of the community using foraging goats.

“The City wants to determine if foraging goats could be a suitable control method in situations where access and environmental regulations make traditional controls difficult,” says Jim Donnelly, Integrated Pest Management Co-ordinator.

The goats will eat noxious weeds such as Tansy, Toadflax and Thistle flowers. The Weed Control Act directs the City to control noxious weeds.

“The Alberta Environment Code of Practice outlines that we can spray herbicides on a maximum of 10 per cent of any 100-square-metre area in a one to five metre strip from an open body of water,” Donnelly says. “In the location where we are doing this trial, this leaves 90 per cent of the area where I can do only mechanical control. The area above Bear Creek is not accessible to mowers.”

The goats have been used to reduce vegetation at the Nitehawk Ski Hill.

“This is an environmentally friendly way of dealing with weeds, rather than using chemicals,” says Community Services Director Felix Seiler. “It would be great if this trial determines that we can do this on a broader scale.”

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Jim Donnelly
Integrated Pest Management Co-ordinator
Parks Operations

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Transit Routes & A Free Week To Try Them

Back in the middle of July I posted a note about the new transit routes that are coming to the city. Three of the new routes will launch in September and, for a week starting September 8th, any trip that starts on on of the new routes will be free!

The new routes are:

Route 6 - Pinnacle/Westpointe
• Hourly Service from 6:00am to 10:15pm
• Transfers will take place at Towne Centre Mall for existing Routes 1, 2, 3, & 4 and new routes 6B and Shopper's Special

Route 6B - Richmond Industrial/Westpointe/Pinnacle
• Half Hourly Service during peak times only. From 6:25am to 8:45am and from 3:00pm to 6:15pm
• Provides 2-way service during peak times to Westpointe and Pinnacle
• Transfers will take place at Towne Centre Mall for existing Routes 1, 2, 3, & 4 and new routes 6 and Shopper's Special

Shoppers Special
• Express Service from Towne Centre Mall to Prairie Mall every hour & continues on to Gateway, Westgate and Centre West Phase I.
• Transfers will take place at Towne Centre Mall for existing Routes 1, 2, 3, & 4 and new routes 6B and Shopper's Special

As of this morning (Monday August 24th) the city's transit department webpage hasn't been updated but I'll remind staff about that tomorrow at Public Works. Hopefully they'll be able to update that before the new routes launch.

UPDATE: the new transit route guide is here (It's a 3MB pdf file)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Library Grand Opening - Tomorrow

The Grande Prairie Public Library is holding it's grand opening tomorrow and there is a great line up of free family activities. You might remember that back in June we hosted a grand opening in conjunction with the Luitenant Governor's Arts Awards - that was actually for the whole Montrose Cultural Centre.

The event this weekend is specifically library focused and it will be a lot of fun with books, music and entertainment for everyone. The full list of the day's events is below:

Library Grande Opening – Saturday, August 22, 2009

Benjamin Alstad (Cello – in Children’s parent area) 10:00 AM

Celebration Story Time (Linda Smith Story Room) 10:30 AM

Jeannie, Katherine & Nicole Pernal (Piano, Violin & Cello – at piano) 11:00 AM

Face Painting with Shannon Fennell (Sky Story Room) 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Lucy’s Clown Caboose Magic Show (Linda Smith Story Room) 11:00 AM

Story Time with Alderman Bill Given (Preschool Play Zone) 11:30 AM

Susan Picard, Angie Maksymetz, Christine Ayling (Vocal Group – in non‐fiction) 11:30 PM

Celebration Story Time (Linda Smith Story Room) 12:30 PM

Sharon Schellenberg (Piano) 12:30 PM

Fred Penner (Teresa Sargent Hall) 1:00 PM

Library Opening Ceremonies (Teresa Sargent Hall) 3:00 PM

Lucy’s Clown Caboose Magic Show (Linda Smith Story Room) 4:00 PM

Jeannie, Katherine & Nicole Pernal (Piano, Violin & Cello – at Piano) 4:30 PM

Update - A picture of my reading, courtesy Wayne Ayling:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day of the Honey Bee?

Quick note; I have Environment Committee at 3pm.

It's a pretty light agenda only 3 items... a delegation from the Canadian Home Builders to talk about their "Build Green Initiative", discussion about a planning session for the committee and a report on the idea of declaring May 29th 2010 as "The Day of The Honey Bee" in Grande Prairie.

This comes from a letter we received from a gentleman in Saskatoon who is campaigning to have all municipalities mark the same day.

It may sound strange but there good reason to recognize the lowly honey bee. Scientists have noticed a phenomon called Colony Collapse Disorder that they fear could lead to the extinction of honey bees which would have a big impact on our food supply! Check out the Wikipedia article here.

You can see the full text of the letter here on the website of a municipal politician from Guelph.

So what do you think - should we mark the Day of the Honey Bee?

Medicine Hat Alderman Blogging

While posting my note about Calgary Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart's blog and I noticed another muniblog that I found a while ago.

Medicine Hat Alderman Ty Schneider is also running a blog. Ty's blog is called: My View From Council. It looks like although he's fairly new to blogging he's posting pretty regular updates. Ty focuses a lot on the price of Natural Gas - which isn't surprising considering the City of Medicine Hat owns it's own natural gas company. (I hear that there a was a time "back in the day" where GP could have set up the same thing but the council of the day decided against it - too bad.)

Anyhow, in my continuing search for local government politicians on the web I'll be adding his blog to the Worthwhile Blogs section on the right side of the page.

Check out Ty's blog to see what's happening in municipal politics in Medicine Hat.


Calgary Alderman Blogging

Following along with some Alberta municipal mentions on Twitter I found the blog site of Calgary Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart. Calgary is split up into wards and Diane represents the Glenmore area.

It looks like Diane has only recently started blogging, with 2 posts in July and 2 in August.

So, in my continuing search for local government politicians on the web I'll be adding her blog to the Worthwhile Blogs section on the right side of the page.

Check out Diane's blog to see what's happening in municipal politics from down south, in Calgary Glenmore.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer Road Construction Update - 92 Street

** See most Recent Update Below For Closure Info **

92 Street is handling a lot more traffic these days. Located on the east side of the city it's the major north-south road that leads from the Countryside South area back up to the new TD Bank and Starbucks on 100th Ave.

As the area had developed with new subdivisions more and more of the road has been improved and upgraded from the gravel state it used to be only a few years ago. There's still a fair chunk left to be done but it's getting there. If I remember correctly the part mentioned below was at a cost of about $3m and includes a much better culvert system for the crossing over the Woody Creek.

You can click on the coloured lines in the map below to see what each chunk is.

The city media release:

92 Street Upgrades

Improvements to 92 Street from 88 Avenue continuing to south of Park Road will begin this month.

Upgrades include paving and widening of the roadway and trail, located to the east of the street, improved drainage, and the installation of a new culvert.

During construction, motorists should expect some single lane closures and possible delays. “We ask that drivers consider alternative routes to access 92 Street, and thank them for their patience during this roadway improvement” says Project Technologist Richard Sali.

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Richard Sali
Project Technologist

View 92 Street Upgrades in a larger map

** Due to a culvert installation, 92 Street from Park Road south to the City’s Marshalling yard, will be closed from 7:00 a.m. August 19 to 7:00 p.m. August 21.

Motorists are advised to use either 84 Street or Resources Road when planning their morning and evening commutes.**


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